Identity Designed is a showcase of brand identity projects from around the world.

Musée de la civilisation de Québec

Contributed by Mara Gourd-Mercado of Québec-based lg2boutique.

MCQ brand identity design

On the occasion of its 25th anniversary in 2013, the Musée de la civilisation de Québec (MCQ) wished to review its brand identity and that of its museum network, which includes Musée de l’Amérique francophone, Musée de la place Royale, Maison historique Chevalier, and Centre national de conservation et d’études des collections. The MCQ entrusted lg2boutique with this mandate.

The goal was to develop a brand platform that allowed the five sites to speak with one voice, but to also individually preserve the roots of their respective identities. The platform also had to reflect the distinctive cultural mission they shared of showcasing the common elements of the human experience through collections, innovative exhibitions and educational activities.

This was not about wiping the slate clean — with the Musée now a quarter-century old, our task was to revitalize and build on its existing visual heritage, not overwrite it.

MCQ brand identity design

A simplified, vibrant and unifying visual identity was designed based on MCQ’s initial logo and a colour code for each network site.

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

This identity applies to stationery, indoor and outdoor signage, and printed material (media kits, newspaper ads and posters). The flexibility of the new brand platform ensures it can also be used for advertising.

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

MCQ brand identity design

Client: Musée de la civilisation de Québec
Creative team: Sonia Delisle, Jacques de Varennes
Strategy: Catherine Darius
Account services: Isabelle Miville, Alexandra Laverdière
Illustrators: David Boivin, Marc Rivest
Production: Julie Pichette

lg2 elsewhere on Identity Designed: F. Ménard, Hörst.

View more brand identity work on the lg2boutique website.

11 appreciated remarks about “Musée de la civilisation de Québec”

  1. Whilst striking and quite well-executed, I can’t help but think the five chevrons in the original logo represented the five sites of the museum or something… what was the reasoning behind reducing it to three? Perhaps ill-thought out.

  2. I see Batman.

  3. I had the same thought as Tom. What does the logo represent? I can see an “M” in it, like “Museum” but also “W”. I further second that this is a well-rounded identity.

  4. That’s a good question, Tom. I emailed it to Mara (who sent the contribution), and she’s asking the designers. Bye for now.

  5. Excellent redesign integrating the various fields in a single symbol. The letter M brings together all the spaces and allows the addition of others. Congratulations!

  6. I saw the “M” right away. For me this completely justifies reducing it to the three lines even if the five lines held a deeper meaning. Great Job.

  7. Mara kindly replied. Here’s the reason behind the “M” as opposed to the five lines:

    In 1988 the first design was also done by Jacques de Varennes and the brief was to do just the logo, not an entire identity.

    Back then it was only one museum and it didn’t have the four smaller ones.

    The five lines were used because of the actual building the museum is in:

    MCQ

    That piece of the architecture was strongly representative of the museum. Many years later, the other museums were added.

    This year, the museum returned to Jacques and asked him to create an entire brand platform that could live in time and space with or without the other museums.

    So the five lines disappeared to go back to three to form an M (for museum) and the other components (museums) are identified by different colours.

  8. Sometimes I think its easy to get too wrapped up into “meaning” of logo marks. Think about the Chase logo mark. In 1961 or so when it was rolled out and they were still just Chase Manhattan — many people were resistant to going forward with the mark that has remained until today. What did these abstract blue bars making some sort of octagonal shape have to do with a bank other than what the designers said it did? They wanted “meaning” behind it, their previous logo was the planet over a map of the US with the name inside the US and “world-wide banking” printed next to the world. It had all the “meaning” they wanted, but it wasn’t a good design.

    In the end the remake was a fantastic logo mark that has remained, but Chase MADE it that way. The company the logo mark represents has as much to do with the effectiveness of the logo mark as does the logo mark “being good” in the first place. It takes two. In this case, the original logo is distracting as its own form.

    Taking away any preconceived meaning placed upon the mark and strictly looking at it as a “piece” of the “art” it suddenly becomes too much. There are 4 negative shapes that the eye is drawn too that mean nothing, but they almost seem to be something. Then, you raise the question of the number. If you don’t know why there are 5 bars, you don’t quite understand it. My eye jumps crazily back and forth between them all, the flow is very staccato and not very smooth and it takes me a while to tear my eye away from the mark to get to the word.

    The simplified version is much cleaner, still represents the key shape, while giving excellent left to right flow and dropping you nicely right out into the key information. The bonus is that you feel the M for Museum there as well. I feel this is a strong remake that is extremely successful in not only being modern, but also classic and one that will last and is extremely simple to look at and understand for the common viewer, which is what really matters in design. Just my opinion.

  9. “I can’t help but think the five chevrons in the original logo represented the five sites of the museum or something… what was the reasoning behind reducing it to three? Perhaps ill-thought out.”

    Technically there are still 5 chevrons — 3 pointing to the left and 2 pointing to the right.

  10. I’m with Jonathan on this. Lots of designers will comment on the meaning of logos on the one hand while saying that they don’t need to be literal on the other.

    I really like this identity. It’s recognisable, flexible and put together beautifully.

  11. The execution is fantastic, clever. The logo is too rigid, too bulky, for my taste. A reversed shape with the last “point” going up would have add more energy. Screams “institution” which makes sense!

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